Book: The Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison
Release Date: July 10th 2017
Tags: Spaceships / Science-fiction / Space / Ghost Ships / Novella
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The luxury cruise ship the Martian Queen was decommissioned years ago, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life.
But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider’s web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.
The Ghost Line is a novella I saw pass me by a few times when visiting other blogs and as the cover drew me in I decided to request it for myself. I was not left disappointed.
Despite the shortness of the book, about 70 pages, the necessary world building was done. But there was also some deepening out of the characters I was perhaps not expecting from such a short novella. The story follows four characters with only one point of view. Saga, and especially her husband Michel, know how to hack their way into all kinds of things, like ghost ships. Their pilot Gregor, an alcoholic, was also hired by their contractor, Wei, who wants to reclaim The Martian Queen. All our characters have something interesting to them. Gregor is more than just an alcoholic. Michel wants to start a family but how much does Saga truly want it? And Wei who doesn’t share her secrets regarding The Martian Queen but would like everyone to listen to her regardless regarding it.
The ship itself also plays its role of course. Having been dormant in space for so long, it is creepy and eerie to follow Saga through it. I think the authors captured that atmosphere reasonably well. The ending even tore open an emotional cord. I do think it missed its mark slightly due to the shortness of the story. Perhaps a bit more length and deepening in the feelings would have made it hit more.
Even so I found this a very enjoyable and possibly thought provoking read. Certainly worth a read if you like ghost stories and space ships.